Like many boys, my son has gone through his entire primary schooling without having had a male teacher. Does it matter? Do boys need male role models?
Would he be a more rounded person, better able to fit into society, if he had the experience of both male and female teachers?
Of course it matters. Would we even be asking these questions if the number of female teachers in schools had declined to this extent? If young girls were not given access to female role models in primary school we would have calls for action from our politicians and trade unions. The complacency about the decline in male teachers from the teaching unions is surprising and the reaction from Chris Keates of the NASUWT is shocking.
Apparently, by even raising this issue, we are making female teachers 'scapegoats' and under her leadership the NASUWT has sponsored research that pretends to show that male teachers are not important to primary schoolboys.
The NASUWT equality information web page shows that conferences are run for minorities such as black and minority ethnic members, gay and lesbian members and, yes, even for women members, but not for the group that is fast disappearing from our schools.
As a male teacher I ask myself why I am paying trade union dues to a union that does not appear to value male teachers?
MALE TEACHER Belfast